Many pet owners are aware of tick-borne diseases that can infect dogs, but most have never heard of the risks in cats. Recently we admitted a male domestic cat after the owner brought him due to lethargy and lack of appetite. At the time of the exam, the patient had a high fever and was very dehydrated. Fluids were administered in addition to medication; however, there was only temporary improvement. After additional blood work, Dr. Kuhn found that the cat tested positive for Cytauxzoon felis, also known as “Bobcat Fever.”
This is a blood parasite spread to cats by ticks. It is commonly referred to as “Bobcat Fever” because bobcats are considered to be the natural hosts. After being bitten by a tick carrying this protozoan parasite, domestic cats typically show signs with 5-20 days. Unfortunately, the disease progressed very quickly is often fatal in affected cats. Cytauxzoon felis is not a well-known parasite and found mainly in the Southeastern United States. There are now more cases of infected domestic cats popping up in other areas.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent Cytauxzoon felis. The best way to protect your cat is to minimize the risk of exposure. Keeping your cat indoors and away from the reach of ticks is the most effective preventative measure. If your cat does go outside, use an appropriate preventative product and check for ticks daily. Indoor cats with a dog in the household should also be placed on preventative. Quick and effective tick removal is important.
Only a few veterinary recommended products prevent ticks. Please contact our office if you would like to discuss preventative for your cat. We would also be glad to address any concerns you may have. Prevent and protect!